Squadron Leader Harbinder Singh Sidhu has been on the posted strength of a Packet Aircraft Squadron since January, 1974. He is a qualified Flying Instructor and has been instructing on Packet aircraft since March, 1973. He has amassed an enviable total of 4168 flying hours to his credit, out of which 1100 hours are on instructional flights. He has considerably improved the operational and categorization state of the Squadron. As a result, the Squadron not only cleared the back log in training of pilots caused due to grounding of Packet aircraft but also achieved the distinction of second best categoriscd squadron amongst all the transport squadrons in the Air Force for the year 1977.
On the 6th April, 1978, during a night dual check sortie, he encountered a rare emergency not known in the history of Packet flying. While going round at 300 feet Advanced Ground Landing, when the flaps were raised to take off position, the starboard outboard flap linkage gave way shifting the starboard outboard flap to the right which lifted the starboard aileron and acted as a lock to the aileron controls. The aircraft viciously rolled to the starboard. Undeterred by the seriousness of the situation, he maintained his presence of mind, decided to reduce power on port engine, landed on the runway with the help of rudders alone and saved the aircraft and the precious lives of the crews from an impending disaster. In an earlier accident, he gave a similar account of his high professional skill and cool headedness by crash landing on the runway at night when his aircraft was not able to maintain height due to runway propeller soon after take off'.
Squadron Leader Harbinder Singh Sidhu thus displayed courage, professional skill and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.